Warren's Bargain Basement resurfaces

Nancy Surfus, left, helps bag up Christy McCarver’s clothing during her visit to the Bargain Basement on Friday, August 28. The store is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the basement of the Knight-Bergman Civic Center in Warren.
Nancy Surfus, left, helps bag up Christy McCarver’s clothing during her visit to the Bargain Basement on Friday, August 28. The store is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the basement of the Knight-Bergman Civic Center in Warren. Photo by Jessica Williams.

The old Warren Township High School houses a gem for Warren that recently resurfaced.

The Bargain Basement, located in the lower level of the Knight-Bergman Civic Center in Warren, has been around since the mid 1980s, the date of which is unsure, says Basement Co-chairwoman Nancy Surfus.

Surfus thinks the space was utilized because it is accessible through only one door and doesn't require the entire center to be opened during store hours.

It operates strictly from donations and is managed by volunteers. The money generated helps pay some of the civic center's utility bills, says Surfus.

And, since the center in turn supports the community with kids' sports, a place to meet for groups and a stopping point for blood donations, Surfus thinks everyone can benefit and people can support their community and help themselves.

"It involves everybody and helping everybody in the community," she says.

The Bargain Basement takes donations of furniture, clothes, toys and books.

"We take anything," Surfus says.

Some clothes that were heavily used can't be resold, so Surfus says they are passed on to groups that donate them to third world countries.

If other clothes, like T-shirts, are too stained to be sold, they still find a use, she adds. The extra clothing is given to farmers and mechanics to use as rag cloths.

"You can clothe your family very, very economically.
From clothes to pots and pans, anything you need to start up a home [is here]," Surfus says.

Seven-year shopper Christy McCarver says the reason she stops by is for the low prices she spends on children's clothing that saves her money.

"I think people should come down here and check it out more often," McCarver says.

The Bargain Basement is open Fridays and Saturdays only, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The store is not affiliated with any group other than the civic center, Surfus adds.